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Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People Hardcover – April 19, 2016
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“You don’t have to be in agreement with Randy Barnett to respect his scholarship, enjoy his writing, and learn from his arguments. But--trigger warning!-- after reading this book, I predict you’ll find yourself more persuaded than you expected to be of the urgent case for reclaiming our Republican Constitution.” (William Kristol, Editor, The Weekly Standard)
Randy Barnett is one of the country’s most important and creative constitutional thinkers. In Our Republican Constitution he revives and restates the natural rights tradition in American constitutional thought, explaining why our system of government is based on respect for the individual sovereignty of each and every one of us. (Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School)
“Our Republican Constitution is simultaneously intellectually rigorous and a real page-turner, filled with dramatic anecdotes that illustrate Barnett’s powerful and provocative argument that routine deference to elected legislators is the wrong way to interpret the Constitution or create a rich and flourishing society.” (Reason.com)
“Barnett has a gift for the clear exposition of complicated ideas, and curious, intelligent, but non-expert readers will learn much about the battle for the soul of the Constitution from this book.” (the Washington Free Beacon)
From the Back Cover
The nation’s leading libertarian legal scholar tells the riveting story of the long struggle between two fundamentally opposing constitutional traditions and explains that beneath every passionate debate between conservatives and liberals lies a deep disagreement about our founding document.
Americans today are deeply divided—politically, ideologically, and culturally. Some of us live in blue states and watch CNN; others live in red states and watch Fox News. Some Americans want more government, others less. We engage in passionate debate over issues like gun control, health care, same-sex marriage, immigration, and the war on terrorism. But above all, says renowned legal scholar Randy E. Barnett, we are in fundamental disagreement about the Constitution.
From the early days of the American republic, the nature of government “of the people, by the people, for the people” has been disputed. This is because there are not one but two very different notions of “We the People” and popular sovereignty, which yield competing schools of constitutional thought. The democrats view We the People collectively and think popular sovereignty resides in the people as a group. They view the Constitution as a living document and contend that today’s majority should not be governed by the dead hand of past majorities.
The republicans view We the People as a collection of individuals. Their vision of government is that it should not reflect the will of the majority—but rather secure the preexisting rights of each and every person to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
This fundamental disagreement lies at the heart of our current national divide. In Our Republican Constitution, Barnett tells the fascinating story of how this conflict arose shortly after the Revolution, leading to the adoption of a new and innovative republican constitution; and how the struggle and eventual victory over slavery led to its improvement by a newly formed Republican Party. Yet soon after, progressive academics and activists urged the courts to remake it into a democratic constitution by ignoring key passages of its text. And eventually the courts complied.
Luckily, this debate is far from over. Drawing from his deep knowledge of constitutional law and history—as well as his experience litigating on behalf of medical marijuana and against Obamacare—Barnett explains why We the People would benefit greatly from the renewal of our Republican Constitution, and how this can be accomplished in the courts and political arena.
Advance Praise For Our Republican Constitution
“Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett is a rarity in academia. He is not only one of the most important constitutional scholars of our time, but a brilliant advocate for the restoration of our republic by embracing the Constitution and defending individual sovereignty. This is a very important book for constitutional conservatives and all Americans who love liberty and country.”—Mark R. Levin, lawyer, radio host, and author of Plunder and Deceit and The Liberty Amendments
“You don’t have to be in agreement with Randy Barnett to respect his scholarship, enjoy his writing, and learn from his arguments. But—trigger warning!—after reading this book, I predict you’ll find yourself more persuaded than you expected to be of the urgent case for reclaiming our Republican Constitution.”—William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard
“Randy Barnett is one of the country’s most important and creative constitutional thinkers. In Our Republican Constitution, he revives and restates the natural rights tradition in American constitutional thought for our time, explaining why our system of government is based on the primacy of rights and respect for the individual sovereignty of each and every one of us.”—Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School
“Randy Barnett has given us the book that will help every American develop a greater understanding of the Constitution. But Barnett does so much more than help us recall our constitutional heritage and the power of the courts to protect the rights of the people; he also points to a path forward for constitutional conservatives. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of our Constitution, from one of the most insightful constitutional scholars and political philosophers of his generation, and one of the leaders in our shared effort to restore the Constitution’s commitment to individual liberty.”—MIKE LEE, U.S. SENATOR FOR UTAH
Top Customer Reviews
Instead, the book is an examination of the fundamental duality of ‘We the People’ - Do the Constitution and our political systems reflect the will of the people collectively, a majoritarian view, or do they fundamentally reflect the rights and sovereignty of people as individuals, a libertarian view? Does the Constitution merely provide a vehicle for minimally impeded majority rule, which may run roughshod over the rights of the individuals who happen to be in the minority, or does it require and empower the government to protect the rights of the individuals? Does Robert Bork’s dismissive statement “Being at the mercy of legislative majorities' is merely another way of describing the basic American plan: representative democracy” accurately reflect the reality of the American political system, or does Princeton Political Scientist Stephen Macedo more accurately characterize it in his rejoinder that , "When conservatives like Bork treat rights as islands surrounded by a sea of government powers, they precisely reverse the view of the Founders as enshrined in the Constitution, wherein government powers are limited and specified and rendered as islands surrounded by a sea of individual rights.Read more ›
I believe this 2nd American Revolution is the only way to restore our Liberties and Freedom from a Government who views the People of the United States as its "Property" to be controlled and managed from birth until death.
I particularly liked the metaphor of an ocean liner. It's designed not to sink, but there are lifeboats just in case. If you're needing to use the lifeboats, well, it's good that they're there, but you're already in trouble. So it is with the Constitution. The overall structure *should* have been enough to vigorously protect individual rights against governmental intrusion, but the Bill of Rights added later provided the lifeboats, just in case that failed. Because of how judges generally--and the Supreme Court specifically--have misread and misapplied the fundamental principles of the Constitution, we've lost the great structural protections, and we're in the lifeboats, with only the text of a few specifically enumerated rights to protect us.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great easy to follow explanation of American political philosophy.Published 12 days ago by Brandon Kramb
I give two, only because it does cover some history that is not well covered elsewhere. But Barnett starts early with "rights first", and "just powers", but doesn't... Read morePublished 17 days ago by John W
Provides a better understanding of our two-party system and each ideology.Published 18 days ago by Rowdy Anthony